Wellington's best independent book & record stores
Wellington's home to some one-of-a-kind independent book and music stores that are must-visits for any literary or music lover
Arty Bees Books
106 Manners Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Arty Bees Books is a family-run, independent bookstore that has been operating in Wellington for over 30 years. The city's largest retailer of pre-loved, new, and rare books, Arty Bees' shelves contain over 90,000 titles ranging from the obvious to the outright bizarre.
The oldest book they own is The Confessions of an Unredeemed drug addict Junkie by William Lee at $10,000. It's this much because it was the first UK print and most copies were pulped because the book breached censorship rules at the time.
Willbank House 57 Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington
There’s a special feeling when you walk into Unity Books. There’s a child-like sense of excitement at the overwhelming array of rainbow-coloured book spines and tables stacked with books devoted to all your favourite genres from cooking to photography, children’s books to biographies. Unity Books is an award-winning independent bookshop that specialises in New Zealand and international literature, poetry, history, and nonfiction and they always the latest new releases by award-winning writers. Unity Book staff are a delightful mix of literary-lovers who will help you hunt down what you’re looking for.
137 Jackson Street, Petone, Lower Hutt
An independent book store in Petone, Schrödinger’s Books opened in 2019 and has a gained a reputation for their wide range of books with titles from GNS and STEMM interest areas, as well as those for the general reading enthusiast.
Schrödinger’s has a large children’s section with books for young people of all ages, as well as a young adults section, general fiction, crime, science fiction and fantasy, lifestyle, history, art and so much more.
2/16 Jessie Street, Te Aro, Wellington
There's nothing better than discovering a new good book and if you're in need of one, look no further than Good Books on Jessie Street.
Founded by Jane Arthur and Catherine Robertson, two writers who definitely know a good book from a dud. This small bookshop focuses on quality, rather than quantity. Arthur and Roberston believe that there's no place for snobbery in books - you love what you love. The store stocks everything from fantasy to romance, memoirs to poetry, art, and graphic novels, cookbooks, and children's books.
Cuba Mall, 204 Left Bank, Te Aro, Wellington
The home of unexpected one-off finds from rare and unusual books to poetry slam nights and gigs, to spotting local literary heroes. Pegasus Books is a small, independent bookseller who stock quality books, ranging from antiquarian to near new, at good prices. Their well-read staff have a wide knowledge of books and the literary world and will be more than happy to help you find something that's just your cup of tea. More than just a store, Pegasus Books regularly hold events and gigs, including Friday night Fiction Room, where musicians, writers and poets perform in the fiction section to a packed-out room. Pegasus Books are also a venue for Wellington's annual literary festival, Verb Wellington.
Mrs Blackwell's Village Bookshop
93 Main Street, Greytown
The first bookshop to open in Greytown in over 20 years, Mrs. Blackwell's is a new chapter in the history of Greytown’s readers and bookshops. Fitting for a village known for its old-world charm, Mrs. Blackwell's feels like stepping foot into a bookshop in a storybook - albeit with modern touches, like the stylish glass pendant lighting overhead. Blackwell's stocks a wide array of books, from arts and crafts to business, and biographies.
Since opening in late 2020, Blackwell's has made headlines for having a queue of eager bookworm customers stretching out the front door.
Slow Boat Records
183 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The kind of record store you thought only existed in movies from the 1980s and 90s, Slow Boat Records on Cuba Street is a must-visit for anyone who is into music. The store is always playing some interesting music and it’s not uncommon for customers to walk up to the counter to say, ‘I’d like to buy the album you’re playing’ and from time-to-time there are live performances in-store. The staff are passionate about music and all have their own specialist genres and are happy for customers to browse the new and used CDs, vinyl, DVDs, posters and t-shirts to their hearts’ content.
237 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Calling all lovers of linen and fans of fabric, Minerva on Cuba Street is a rare type of bookshop that’s dedicated entirely to textile and handcraft books.
With a cool 4,000 titles in-store at any time on subjects ranging from interior design to crocket, knitting to fashion, Minerva is a fun place for a browse. There’s a good range of imported magazines which will look just perfect on your coffee table and there’s an incredible selection of greeting cards for stocking up your present drawer at home.
175 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Established back in the days when the only way to read a book involved pages and ink, Ferret Books has been a haven for book lovers since it opened in 1979. Independently-owned, this much-loved bookstore sells, trades and sources second-hand reading material and it’s a great place for hard-to-find, out-of-stock or first edition titles.
The store has a sense of calm and serenity, with a polished wooden floor and exposed brickwork peaking out between the shelves of thoughtfully arranged books.
Another Chapter Bookshop
6 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington
An independent bookshop with a well-curated selection of fiction, non-fiction and children's books, as well as a selection of cards and gifts. Another Chapter is owned and run by Lorna Bingham, who spent 25 years working as a nurse before opening the bookstore, which is just across the road from Wellington Hospital. Lorna is a strong advocate of the joy that books can bring, and the store is perfectly located to buy a gift for friends and family in the hospital.
The Children’s Bookshop
Shop 26, Kilbirnie Plaza, Kilbirnie, Wellington
The best place in Wellington to find books for children of all ages is The Children’s Bookshop, an independent specialist store in Kilbirnie.
Established in 1992 by John and Ruth McIntyre, The Children’s Bookshop has won numerous bookshop awards over the years and in 2011, John and Ruth became the first booksellers to be awarded the Betty Gilderdale Award for Service to Children's Literature.
Both in-store and online you’ll find a wonderful range of books, DVDs, toys and games. The friendly and book-loving staff will happily help you find just what you’re looking for or introduce you to new and classic books that kids are sure to love.
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